It’s an unfortunate truth that the Covid pandemic has brought trouble to all industries across the board. Its impact has especially been severe for the restaurant business, since public gatherings have been discouraged for more than a year now. It’s not surprising that so many restaurants have since folded up, but Cracker Barrel endures.
After all, Cracker Barrel isn’t just any restaurant chain. Its 660 locations are spread over 45 states, and it’s been around for the last 50 years. The top management at Cracker Barrel aren’t planning to give up just yet, though the recent Covid pandemic is admittedly a huge challenge. Fortunately, Cracker Barrel is adapting to a new world.
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The Cracker Barrel Response
The needs of the Cracker Barrel patrons have all changed due to the pandemic, and the brand has been quick to respond to continue delivering the special Cracker Barrel experience to their current fans. They continued with various initiatives that were already in test mode anyway.
These changes included serving wine and beer, which the brand hasn’t done before. Also, they offer a new menu for kids while they overhauled the Dinner menu.
With various restrictions for dining in public premises, Cracker Barrel streamlined the menu by removing about 20% of the items. This made the operations more efficient, while still offering a viable menu range for off-premise orders.
The patrons continue to have Cracker Barrel menu items delivered to their homes, and the Family Meal Baskets have become a huge hit. This option offers a main protein selection, along with 2 sides and biscuits. It’s ideal for 4 people, especially at its price. It’s also packed hot and delivered quickly.
Even though some on-premises dining is now allowed, gatherings today remain smaller. That’s why Cracker Barrel changed their popular Heat n’ Serve holiday meals to a smaller size. Cracker Barrel has also launched the new individually packaged Box Meals for catering.
New Marketing Initiatives
Cracker Barrel, like many other restaurants, have focused more on greater efficiency in light of the Covid reality. That means doing many things a lot faster, and developing their new products to the scene a lot more quickly.
Cracker Barrel also has a new (and more efficient) website, as more people go online nowadays to order rather than to go out in public. The brand also offers a mobile app, and even a digital store to make things easier for patrons who go online. It’s now much easier to shop online, and patrons can now use an online waitlist. Ordering “to go” has never been easier.
Delivery is also much more efficient as well, thanks to how Cracker Barrel has partnered with brands such as DoorDash and other 3rd-party delivery partnerships. Cracker Barrel has actually partnered with other brands before the coming of Covid, so it’s not exactly a brand-new experience. But these current partnerships can help make sure that patrons can still find Cracker Barrel items when using their own preferred delivery app. Cracker Barrel knows that in the post-Covid reality, the demand for delivery services will remain high for a long time to come.
Still, sooner or later people will be allowed to go out again, and Cracker Barrel has anticipated this. This is why they’ve continued to work on their popular billboards all across the US. These billboards focus on promoting delivery services along with curbside pickup. Despite pandemic guidelines that tend to restrict public indoor dining, patrons can still get to experience the homestyle Cracker Barrel menu items that made the brand so famous in the first place.
New Menu Items and Current Favorites
With Cracker Barrel now serving alcoholic beverages, patrons are busy discovering which drinks match best with which dishes. The new Orange and Strawberry mimosas have been very popular. Patrons also welcome the new menu items like the Country Fried Pork Chops, Maple Bacon Chicken, and the Chicken Pot Pie.
Of course, with such a stressful environment, it’s not surprising that so many people are ordering Cracker Barrel’s comfort food faves. Comfort food like Southern Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Pancakes have become bestsellers, since they remind so many people of better times before the pandemic. These menu items also generally promise that those good times will eventually return.
The Kid’s Menu has also been updated, and the Dirt Cup Dessert is a real hit among the youngsters. What did you expect, when this dessert offers layers of chocolate pudding with chocolate cookie crumbles, along with gummy worms? That’s a recipe that will have most kids clamoring.
Then there’s also the Mini Confetti pancakes. This offers 3 small pancakes packed with fruity cereal, and the kids just love it.
Cracker Barrel has also noticed that the trend that focuses more on healthier options hasn’t abated. Many Cracker Barrel fans wanted healthier choices before the pandemic, and that hasn’t changed in the new Covid world. People still want options with lower calorie content.
In response, Cracker Barrel still offers menu items like the Chicken n’ Dumplins, which only has 450 calories. The new Sunday Pot Roast Supper, despite its scrumptious name, only comes with 550 calories as well.
All, in all, Cracker Barrel is doing well. Covid may be a challenge, but it’s a challenge that the brand is facing with aplomb.